"Report from the Aleutians," directed by John Huston, follows the daily life of American soldiers serving in the Aleutian Islands, which extend in sequence off the shores of Alaska. Despite being cold, barren, and generally disagreeable, the Aleutians held military bases of immense strategic value in the Pacific theater of World War II. The film describes the geographic importance of the islands, and provides a portrait of daily wartime operations, such as attack planning and bombing raids, that take place at the bases. Huston pays particular attention to life on the island of Adak in the wake of the Battle of Dutch Harbor, culminating in a first-person perspective of an actual American bombing run against the Japanese.
My father was a staff sergeant in Battery F, 216th Coast Artillery (Anti Aircraft) on Adak Island in the Aleutians from the Fall of 1942 until April of 1944. Before they were sent there they had been outfitted and were preparing to be sent to North Africa. The lack of proper clothing, shelter or fresh food supplies in the face of the cold and wet weather resulted in 2/3rds of the troops returning from the campaign being declared "Unfit for Combat."
The invasion of Attu Island ranks second only to Iwo Jima as the battle resulting in the highest percentage of casualties suffered by U.S. forces of any action in WWII.
Looking beyond the narrative, which after all, was intended as morale-building propaganda for the folks back home, you can get a feeling of the stark geography and harsh conditions our troops endured.
December 31, 2006 Subject:
Forgotten battles, forgotten war
This is a very interesting film shot in color. I have never seen the footage contained in this film anywhere else or used as stock footage in other films or movies (and I am a WWII history buff.) The low level bombing runs on Kiska is very noteworthy. This film was shot and completed before the invasion of Kiska in August 1943 by U.S and Canadian troops.
November 28, 2005 Subject:
Part of the war I'd never heard of
Before seeing this movie I never even realised that the US and Japanese armies had fought over the Aleutian islands. To be honest it's a bit long, but still interesting to see the how the war was fought in such a remote area.